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The Private Patient by P. D. James
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The Private Patient (2008)

by P. D. James

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Adam Dalgliesh (14)

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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Not the best P. D. James mystery (I'm fond of Cover Her Face), but still thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
In theory I like the idea that Dame James tried something new--the detecting does not solve the mysteries, but then there is a long unwinding on motive. In practice, I found it a little dull. Also, the perp, who must be truly evil to have killed or attempted to kill as she did (the second two) does not come across that way. A small thing--the first victim says she is giving up her scar "because she no longer needs it." This keeps being referred to--but there's never any explanation. ( )
  ahaehl | Oct 6, 2016 |
Published in 2008, ‘The Private Patient’ turned out to be the fourteenth and last in the Adam Dalgliesh detective series by PD James and there are flashes which make me think James knew that. It wasn’t to be her last novel, though. ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’, published in 2011, was to be her last. She died in 2014 at the age of 94.
Is ‘The Private Patient’ her best Dalgliesh novel? For me, no. I think the thirteenth in the series, ‘The Lighthouse’, is the best. Other favourites are ‘Devices and Desires’ and ‘Original Sin’.
‘The Private Patient’ takes a while to get going. The first few chapters tell us about the victim, Rhoda Gradwyn, who we know will die at a private clinic in Dorset. Rhoda has a facial scar which she will have removed in surgery at Cheverell Manor. The intriguing thing for me is that Rhoda tells her surgeon she has no further need for the scar, but this seemed to get buried in the explanation of Rhoda’s background and that of the staff at the Manor. Of course, once the murder happens, the story moves rapidly. This is an old-fashioned English murder story set in a private cosmetic surgery clinic where it seems everyone has something to hide. The characterization is a little clichéd, perhaps James’ use of her own background is more evident here than in earlier novels.
We get more this time about Kate Miskin which I enjoyed, more beyond her origins which James has told us about before. If James had been younger, I can quite see that she would have retired Dalgliesh and started a new series based on Miskin.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Aug 22, 2016 |
P.D. James belongs to that coveted British mystery novelist genre so well represented by Agatha Christie and Ngiao Marsh - well there is plenty of room in their lofty station for a writer of Ms James' calibre.
The Private Patient is another of her skillfully crafted mysteries. Her mysteries draws one in, both to the story and into the lives of the characters, several of whom can be made to seem to have a motive.
We learn about the patient and her quiet lonely desperation which lead her to seek surgery at last. Just when she is about to have a chance at a normal life - perhaps one in which she would find real friends. and one in which she could hold her head up proudly.
There are, as usual, several viable suspects, with plausible motives. It is up to our hero, Inspector Dalgiesh, in the typical British reserved manor, to reflect upon the clues and decifer which point to the perpetrator of the crime. ( )
  CathyWoolbright | Apr 20, 2016 |
I felt this was not P.D. James's best book, but it did give us closure. It was good to see Adam Dalgliesh finally happy, though I can't help thinking he would have been better off with Kate. The resolution of the mystery confused me, though, and I could not figure out the Helena/George subplot, unless it was to contrast with Dalgliesh and Emma. ( )
  WeaselOfDoom | Jul 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Somewhere along the way to its denouement “The Private Patient” loses both track of and interest in its title character. Rhoda Gradwyn’s past is of great interest to some of the book’s characters but not to the reader.
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. D. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Griffini, Maria GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
This book is dedicated to
Stephen Page, publisher,
and to all my friends, old and new, at Faber and Faber
in celebration of my forty-six unbroken years
as a Faber author
First words
On November the 21st, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there is a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision that would lead inexorably to her death.
Quotations
There was a moment in which, not touching the scar, he scrutinised it in silence. Then he switched off the light and sat again behind the desk. His eyes on the file before him, he said, 'And you waited thirty-four years to do something about it. Why now, Miss Gradwyn?'

There was a pause, then she said, 'Because I no longer have need of it.'
She thought, ... these are my people, the upper working class merging into the middle class, that amorphous unregarded group who fought the country's wars, paid their taxes, clung to what remained of their traditions. They had lived to see their simple patriotism derided, their morality despised, their savings devalued. They caused no trouble. ... If they protested that their cities had become alien, their children taught in overcrowded schools where ninety per cent of the children spoke no English, they were lectured about the cardinal sin of racism by those more expensively and comfortably circumstanced.
This new MMC -- Modernising Medical Careers -- makes training schemes far
more rigid. House men have become foundation-year doctors -- and we all know what a mess the government have made there -- senior house officers are out,
registrars are specialist surgical trainees, and God knows how long all this will last before they think of something else, more forms to fill in, more
bureaucracy, more interference with people trying to get on with their jobs.
Perhaps they popped him into a freezer and produced him nice and fresh on the appropriate day. That's the plot of a book by a detective novelist, Cyril Hare. I think it's called Untimely Death, but it may have been published originally under a different name.
Rhoda Gladwyn was interesting about apparently unconscious copying of phrases and ideas and the occasional curious coincidences in literature when a strong idea enters simultaneously into two minds as if its time has come.
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Book description
Krimi. Midt i sine lykkelige bryllupsplaner bliver Adam Dalgliesh kaldt til den eksklusive privatklinik for plastikkirurgi i Dorset, hvor skandalejournalisten Rhoda Gradwyn er blevet opereret - og nu er fundet myrdet
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307270777, Hardcover)

Cheverell Manor is a lovely old house in deepest Dorset, now a private clinic belonging to the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell. When investigative journalist Rhoda Gradwyn arrived there one late autumn afternoon, scheduled to have a disfiguring and long-standing facial scar removed, she had every expectation of a successful operation and a pleasant week recuperating.

Two days later she was dead, the victim of murder.

To Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who with his team is called in to investigate the case, the mystery at first seems absolute. Few things about it make sense. Yet as the detectives begin probing the lives and backgrounds of those connected with the dead woman—the surgeon, members of the manor staff, close acquaintances—suspects multiply all too rapidly. New confusions arise, including strange historical overtones of madness and a lynching 350 years in the past. Then there is a second murder, and Dalgliesh finds himself confronted by issues even more challenging than innocence or guilt.

P. D. James has gained an enviable reputation for creating detective stories of uncommon depth and intricacy, combined with the sort of humanity and perceptiveness found only in the finest novelists. The Private Patient ranks among her very best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Commander Adam Dalgliesh and his team are called in to investigate a murder at a private nursing home for rich patients being treated by the famous plastic surgeon George Chandler-Powell.

» see all 10 descriptions

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